Abstract of PhD Thesis

Monitoring Small Mammals by Real-Time PCR DNA Analysis of Hair

Siobhan Moran, Waterford Institute of Technology (2009)

The main aim of the project was to develop a novel method for monitoring small mammal species of Britain and Ireland using non-invasive genetic sampling, and DNA-based methods, specifically real-time PCR. A series of species-specific primers, based on mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences, were designed for 16 small mammal species. The primers were used to amplify DNA from individual target species and proved effective for identifying and distinguishing small mammals. Non-invasively collected samples, including hair and faecal pellets were shown to provide a sufficient quantity of DNA for species-identification, and are therefore a viable method for monitoring small mammals. Additionally, non-invasive genetic sampling was used to investigate the occurrence of multiple paternity in the European hedgehog. Hair samples collected from mother-litter groups provided sufficient DNA for paternity analysis and multiple paternity was observed in 2 of 5 litters analysed.